You heard last week that a family retreat can be an incredible way to connect with your kids. Today, we’re giving you what you need to pull one off.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” —2 Timothy 2:15
Over at the Father On Purpose community, Kent’s covering the why’s, the what’s, and the how’s of all thing family retreats.
In the last post we talked about why you should start planning a family retreat ASAP – and how it can be the antidote for the busyness of our lives.
In this post we’ll talk about the WHAT.
Family retreat ideas: what goes into it?
Now, you can do something totally different here. But, Kent uses what he calls the “FIVE P and an S model”. We’re just here to give you some suggested areas you will want to cover. Feel free to add, edit, remove stuff as you wish.
Our job as dads is to help our kids rightly handle the Word of Truth. All the other stuff is great: student ministry, Christian school, preaching every Sunday—awesome—great resources—but the centerpiece is us dads teaching our kids—being disciples in our homes.
This is the centerpiece of the family retreat—to spend intentional time in God’s Word, as a family. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul reminds Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” This should be the point. You can accomplish this in several ways.
Here are just a few ideas to get you going:
- Pick a theme: maybe a topic, a particular chapter or verse, or study some portion of Scripture. Consider studying a whole chapter of Scripture. Kent points out one year he walked through Colossians 3
- Study one word like “patience” or “joy”
- Study one person like King David
- Give each family member a role to play – even young kids can memorize a simple verse or share what they know about a Bible character. I love what Kent shares about his son Alex, who is now 20 years old. Since they’ve been doing these retreats over 10 years, Kent can recall when Alex was leading mini-devotionals at 10 years old. I love this so much. Number one, I feel a bit guilty that I haven’t already had 10 years of devotions with my now 13 year old (sigh). But, let’s not go there! Let this do what Kent (and well, God!) intended it to do—to spur us on to good works.
Here’s the point: We need to be in the Word. So do our kids. Let’s be sure we spend time teaching them not just what’s IN the Bible, but how to FIND it for themselves.
- Turn off technology, seriously.
- Only use mobile devices for music or family-related engagement (think movie on Netflix only)
- No individual texting or game-playing. Basically, during this retreat—no ear buds allowed!
Here’s the point: make community happen as much as possible. You’ll have to be super-intentional on this point if you have older kids.
- Bring along games or puzzles
- Ideally, bring games that involve more than one person
- Get outside, play ball, Kent says bring a bow & arrow or BB gun. You can tell he has boys! I’d add, bring stuff for drawing or painting.
Point: Have fun on this retreat. Truly connect with your kids. Trust us, playing and having fun will help the serious time be deeper.
- Spend some time praying – both individually and as a family
- One way Kent’s family does prayer time is by keeping Christmas Cards from the previous year.
Point: model for your kids how to go to God for help, comfort, and guidance. Point to God.
- Plan for the weekend—of course
- Set goals that might include theme verse to memorize, a word you want to work on like patience or joy, even goals to do with money, academic achievements, all of the stuff we’ve already mentioned above…
- Create an agenda with time slots. This doesn’t have to be followed super closely, but have a plan.
- Each family member gets an assignment. Don’t leave anyone out.
- Kent uses this time to plan ahead by setting goals for the next year as well.
Point: this time is a time to get serious about what to cut, what to do more of, and get aligned as a family.
- Have at least some time of worship time
- Consider doing communion
- Maybe do a “Sunday service” of sorts—no choir needed!
Point: like prayer, this is a time to show your kids it’s not about you. Point to God.
To help you along on this, we’ve built you some tools called the “Annual Planner” over at Father On Purpose. Now, if you’re not a member of that community, I’ve added the framework we just went through above as a PDF. Use it as a helpful reminder in the coming days.
Free download > Six-Step Family Retreat Framework
In case you missed it, download a quick sneak peek of the Six-Step Framework. Note, there’s a ton of resources for members of Father On Purpose—everything from how to pick a theme, full agendas, how to handle prayer cards, a goal-setting template, how to do family survey’s, movie ideas for fun with a point, and how to conduct a family worship time.
Here’s a quick sneak peek to the 6-part model Kent uses for the Evans family:
- STUDY: focus on something biblical and relevant to your family
- PAUSE: unplug from technology and the “outside world” for a time
- PRAY: spend time individually and together praying as a family
- PLAY: give yourself ample time to play games or enjoy the outdoors
- PLAN: use the time to think ahead and set goals for the coming year
- PRAISE: play worship music and conduct a “Sunday service”
Family retreat: the mission
This week, will you commit to doing the family retreat? Walk through the idea with your wife. AGREE that you’ll either do or not do a retreat. If you AGREE that you’ll do it, SET A DATE. Next week, we’ll talk about the HOW of pulling it off.
Would you do us a favor? Like, comment, share this mission – help us spread the word about stopping the busyness, having a retreat, and becoming a father on purpose.
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